Jesus Sacrifice

The death of Christ was not the end, because he rose from the dead, and his resurrection is the foundation upon which the Christian faith is built. He is the only one who through his resurrection conquered death and defeated Satan. So, there is no fear for the believer in Christ of death or Satan, because Jesus is alive.

The New Testament records that when Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to see the tomb in which Jesus was put, the angel of the Lord appear to them and said,

5 “But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid; I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified.  6 He is not here, for he has been raised, just as he said. Come and see the place where he was lying.  7 Then go quickly and tell his disciples, ‘He has been raised from the dead. He is going ahead of you into Galilee. You will see him there.’ Listen, I have told you!” (Matthew 28:5-7)

From the beginning of the Christian church, the resurrection was the primary testimony and the essence and depth of the preaching of the gospel. In the first sermon recorded in the book of Acts (the book that speaks about the origin of Christianity and its quick spreading), Peteraddresses his words to the Jews and residents of Jerusalem, confirming that Christ was resurrected from the dead, (Acts 2:23, 24) and he finishes his sermon affirming that

“This Jesus God raised up, and we are all witnesses of it.” (Acts 2:32) 

Did Jesus rise from the dead? Is there a prominent and convincing reason that would make us believe in the resurrection of Christ? Yes, there are many pieces of evidence and proofs that confirm the resurrection of Christ from the dead. The physician and historian Luke, who followed the truth of what he recorded carefully, says:

“To the same apostles also, after his suffering, he presented himself alive with many convincing proofs. He was seen by them over a forty-day period…”(Acts 1:3)

What are these proofs that confirmed to the apostles and disciples and proved to them that Jesus had been resurrected from the dead?

I will present to you, my dear reader, the evidence under five headings to simplify understanding them:

  1. The death of Christ on the cross
  2. The belief of the disciples of Jesus that he had risen from the dead because he appeared to them many times
    • The appearance of Jesus to many individuals and groups
    • The bold preaching of the apostles and followers of Jesus of his resurrection
    • The sudden, radical changed life of the apostles and disciples after Jesus appeared to them
  3. The complete, sudden change that happened to Paul, the former persecutor of the church and Christians, after Jesus appeared to him
  4. The complete, sudden change that happened to James, the doubter, after Jesus appeared to him.
  5. The historical fact of the empty tomb.

The only way all these facts can be explained is with the fact of the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. This is the evidence that Jesus Christ rose from the dead as he promised, and as the prophets of the Old Testament prophesied hundreds of years before.

First, the death of Jesus on the cross.

I have discussed this evidence in the first part of this article and have shown that the death of Christ on the cross is a historical event that had to happen according to the will and promise of God. I showed the evidence that prove that it happened. This event is evidence for the resurrection of Christ, because if the crucifixion of Christ did not happen, followed by his death, this means that there is no historical resurrection. But Jesus (and not another person who resembled him) was crucified and buried in a tomb that is known under strict Roman guard.

Second, the disciples of Jesus believed that Jesus rose from the dead, because he appeared to them many times.

  1. The appearance of Jesus to many individuals and groups

This truth appeared at a very early point in the history of the early church. The apostle Paul said in 1 Corinthians 15:3-8: 

For I passed on to you as of first importance what I also received– that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures,  and that he was buried, and that he was raised on the third day according to the scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve.  Then he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles.  Last of all, as though to one born at the wrong time, he appeared to me also.

These verses are clear and strong evidence for the resurrection of Christ from the dead. He appeared to individuals and groups at various times and various places: he appeared to Mary and Peter and the eleven apostles, to one hundred twenty people, to James, and then to five hundred people as we have read above. The testimony of these people was independent of each other, and they were eyewitnesses. In other words, they saw him personally and did not hear about his resurrection from other people. For this reason they would say, “We are witnesses of that.”

Then notice, dear reader, the expression, “Most of whom are still alive”. In other words, the apostle Paul who wrote these verses says, “You can go and ask those people to whom Jesus appeared.” That was because they were still alive and could confirm what Paul said.

Is it reasonable that all those people were hallucinating, as some have claimed? It is impossible that this is what happened, because some of them ate and drank with him. When Jesus appeared to the eleven apostles, he told them,

“Look at my hands and my feet; it’s me! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones like you see I have.” (Luke 24:39)

Then he showed them his hands and feet and took grilled fish and honey with them and ate in front of them. (Verses 40-43)

  • The bold preaching of the apostles and followers of Jesus that he had been resurrected

After Jesus appeared to the apostles and disciples, they began to preach his resurrection with boldness. They had not done so previously. Their preaching began in the city of Jerusalem where Jesus had been crucified. If Jesus had not been raised, the chief priests would have told his disciples, “He has not risen. Here is his body.” They were preaching the resurrection of Jesus in the face of threats of the chief priests and the head of the temple guards, to the extent that they were amazed at the boldness of Peter and John, when they told the chief priest and the elders that God had raised Jesus from the dead (Acts 4:10,13). Thus the followers of Jesus to whom he appeared after his resurrection preached about it without any personal benefit or gain. On the contrary, they received persecution and death as a result of their faith in the resurrection of Christ.

For example, Peter announced:

“but God raised him up on the third day and caused him to be seen,  41 not by all the people, but by us, the witnesses God had already chosen, who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead.” (Acts 10:40-41)

 Thus Peter and the other apostles spoke publically,

“Because we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard.”

The apostle Paul spoke boldly about the resurrection of Christ in front of the chiefs of the Jewish synagogue and the Israelite men, and he described to them what had happened to Jesus, saying,

“When they had accomplished everything that was written about him, they took him down from the cross and placed him in a tomb.  But God raised him from the dead, and for many days he appeared to those who had accompanied him from Galilee to Jerusalem. These are now his witnesses to the people.” (Acts 13:29-31) 

Notice, dear reader, that what happened to Jesus had been written about and the prophecy of the Old Testament was fulfilled, and that Jesus appeared to groups of his disciples for many days and not just once.

Thus, every time the chief priests threatened the apostles not to preach the resurrection of Christ, the apostles gave testimony to the Lord Jesus by his great power, and spoke the word of God boldly. (Acts 4:23)

  • The radical change in the lives of the apostles and disciples after Jesus appeared to them

The apostles and disciples of Jesus, when Jesus was arrested, died, and buried, were fearful, confused, and looking only inward, because they had seen the one on whom they had put their hopes buried. Mark 14:50 in the New Testament says, “They all left him and fled.” Even Peter denied that he knew Christ three times. Fear was controlling them to the extent that

“On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the disciples had gathered together and locked the doors of the place because they were afraid of the Jewish leaders.” (John 20:19)  

But after Jesus appeared to them after his resurrection, their lives were totally changed, and they became bold and initiators, filled with joy and hope as we read in the continuation of the verse above.

“Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.”  When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord.” (John 20:19-20)  

They had become ready to die to affirm the accuracy of the resurrection of Jesus. They accepted being subjected to persecution, suffering, and death because of their faith and their preaching of the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. Peter who denied Christ stood in front of the leading Jews and preached the resurrection of Christ. He explained to his hearers how Jesus had appeared to him and to others. Paul, who had been one of the fiercest enemies and persecutors of Christians, preached boldly of the resurrection of Christ and entered the synagogue of the Jews, “explaining and demonstrating that the Christ had to suffer and to rise from the dead, saying, “This Jesus I am proclaiming to you is the Christ.”(Acts 17:3) 

What was it that changed all these people’s lives? Was it a lie? Was it deception? Was it a fabricated story? Have you heard, dear reader, of any person who would be ready to die for a lie? No! Their lives had been changed because they had seen Christ alive, resurrected from the dead.

Third, the total and sudden change that happened to Paul, the former persecutor of the Christians, after Jesus appeared to him

Paul was Jew, a Pharisee, and very religious. He believed that the will of God was for him to persecute the Christians as he said in the New Testament:

“For you have heard of my former way of life in Judaism, how I was savagely persecuting the church of God and trying to destroy it.” (Galatians 1:13)  

Paul continues telling what he did to the followers of Jesus:

“And that is what I did in Jerusalem: Not only did I lock up many of the saints in prisons by the authority I received from the chief priests, but I also cast my vote against them when they were sentenced to death.  11 I punished them often in all the synagogues and tried to force them to blaspheme. Because I was so furiously enraged at them, I went to persecute them even in foreign cities.” (Acts 26:10-11)  

But Paul changed radically because Jesus appeared to him, as he affirmed. After Jesus’ appearance to him, Paul became the greatest preacher of the resurrection of Christ, and the rapid spread of Christianity in the first century owes a lot to him. We read in the New Testament:

“But I was personally unknown to the churches of Judea that are in Christ. 23 They were only hearing, “The one who once persecuted us is now proclaiming the good news of the faith he once tried to destroy.” (Galatians 1:22-23) 

What happened to cause this change? How did one who opposed Christ and persecuted Christians become one of them who preached the faith that he had tried to destroy? There is no other explanation for the change in the life of this person besides that he had seen Christ after his resurrection, when he appeared to him on the road to Damascus. Every gain he had had, as he said, became a loss:

“I consider everything loss because of the grace of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.”

The faith of Paul was so strong and true that, like the apostles and first disciples, he was ready to face death in order to spread the gospel of Christ and preach his resurrection. He was beaten, whipped and stoned because of his faith in the resurrection, yet he continued preaching the resurrection of Christ.

Fourth: The total and complete change that happened to James the doubter after Jesus appeared to him

James was a godly, religious Jew, but he did not believe that Jesus was the expected Messiah (Christ). The New Testament says:

“For even his brothers did not believe in him.” (John 7:5)

But a few weeks after the crucifixion of Christ, the brothers of Jesus all became believers in him. They were with the disciples when they were in the upper room, continuing to pray after Jesus had ascended to heaven (Acts 1:14). After that we find James has become one of the leaders of the church.

What caused this change in the life of James? The only explanation is that Jesus appeared to him on the road after his resurrection from the dead and James believed in Jesus so firmly that he was ready to die for his faith in the resurrection of Christ from the dead.

Fifth, the fifth piece of evidence for the resurrection of Jesus is the historical fact of the empty tomb.

The empty tomb is a verified, certain fact for several reasons that I will give in brief. But I must affirm first that after Jesus was confirmed to be dead, a man called Joseph came to the governor Pontius Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Then Joseph took the body and wrapped it in grave clothes and put it in his own new tomb. Then he rolled a heavy stone over the door of the tomb.

To confirm that the tomb not be disturbed, the chief priests and the Pharisees went and set a guard in front of the door of the tomb and sealed the stone. (The penalty for breaking the seal was execution.) This confirmed the impossibility of stealing the body of Jesus, as some claim.

But at dawn on the first day of the week, the angel of the Lord came down from heaven and rolled the stone from the door (Matthew 28:2). Thus some women who were carrying spices to embalm the body were able to enter the tomb. But they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. After that, Peter entered

“Then Simon Peter, who had been following him, arrived and went right into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen cloth lying there, 7 and the face cloth, which had been around Jesus’ head, not lying with the strips of linen cloth but rolled up in a place by itself.”(John 20:6-7)  

How can we be sure that the tomb was empty three days after Jesus’ crucifixion? There are at least three reasons:

  • The apostles and disciples of Christ proclaimed his resurrection in Jerusalem. This was a big city. If the body of Jesus was still in the tomb, the Jewish authorities could have shown his body to the people and in that way, dealt a death-blow to Christianity in its infancy. But they were not able to do that because the tomb was empty.
  • When the guards told the chief priests everything that had happened, the New Testament says, “After they had assembled with the elders and formed a plan, they gave a large sum of money to the soldiers,  13 telling them, “You are to say, ‘His disciples came at night and stole his body while we were asleep.'(Matthew 28:12-13)This is an indirect confession that the tomb was empty.
  • The testimony of the women: If a writer from the first century wanted to invent a story to deceive people, he would not have written something that would diminish its credibility. Thus when we read the story of the empty tomb in the New Testament, we find that the women were the first and primary witnesses of his resurrection. This seems strange and noteworthy, because in the Jewish and Roman culture, women were considered to be lower and their testimony was doubted. For this reason, we read in the New Testament that when the women informed the apostles about the empty tomb, “But these words seemed like pure nonsense to them, and they did not believe them.”(Luke 24:11) If the story of the empty tomb was fabricated, it would not have mentioned women, but the names of the women to whom Jesus appeared are mentioned specifically, and they were well-known in Jerusalem.

Nothing explains the fact of the empty tomb except the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. Thus, this historical fact is very strong evidence for his resurrection, as he said many times to his disciples.

These pieces of evidence, the five facts, show strongly the resurrection of Christ from the dead. These facts and events of can only be explained by the fact of the resurrection of Jesus.

Finally, to conclude this article, we have seen that the fact of the death of Christ on the cross and his resurrection from the dead are the greatest fact in history and the most important message in all the world It confirms to us the sacrificial, unconditional love of God that Jesus Christ showed when he paid the penalty of our sins, which was death, and that by death on the cross instead of us, and by his resurrection from the dead to give us a guarantee that he is alive. This calls us to faith in him to receive all the blessings that he promised to give to those who believe in him.

What is the importance and necessity of the resurrection according to the New Testament? It proves and affirms to us:

  1. That what Christ said about himself is correct. He said that he was the way, the truth and the life, and that no one comes to God except through him. (John 14:6) He also said about himself that he is God incarnate and his resurrection from the dead proved that what he said was true., because we read in the New Testament: “who was appointed the Son-of-God-in-power according to the Holy Spirit by the resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord.”(Romans 1:4) 
  2. Jesus Christ conquered death and defeated Satan, as we read in the resurrection chapter: “”Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?”(1 Corinthians 15:55) The believer in Christ has assurance of eternal life and of victory over the temptations of Satan.
  3. Believers in Jesus will be resurrected just like Christ was resurrected as we read in the New Testament: “But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep.” (1 Corinthians 15:20)and “For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus.” (1Thessalonians 4:14) 
  4. Jesus Christ is alive, and because he is alive, the New Testament says: “Hence, also, He is able to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.”(Hebrews 7:25)

If you believe, dear reader, in Jesus Christ, as he said about himself, that he was resurrected from the dead, in other words, that you put your trust in him, you will receive eternal life and forgiveness of your sins, since God accepts everyone who comes to him through Christ, whatever their religious or denominational or ethnic background is.

Christians at Easter every year celebrate Jesus Christ’s death on the cross and his resurrection from the dead. Dear reader, have you wondered about the meaning and importance of this holiday, which talks about what Christ did to redeem mankind, and which is celebrated by millions of Christians every year?

You may have a wrong idea about the meaning of Easter. Or you many have been taught that Christ did not die and did not rise from the dead. You may not know what the death of Christ means, or understand the importance and results of his resurrection from the dead. I urge you to read these papers with an open mind and a sincere heart, free from any prejudices, with a will that seeks to know the truth, because you really want to please God in your life.

The death and resurrection of Christ are the cornerstone of Christianity. The Christian faith is based completely on the death and resurrection of Christ. The death of Christ is mentioned over 150 times in the New Testament. If we deny the resurrection of Christ, the whole Christian faith falls apart, as 1 Corinthians 15:17 says,

“And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is useless; you are still in your sins.”

But there cannot be a resurrection unless there has been a death. How can we make sure, then, that Christ died on the cross?

In this article, I will quote from the New Testament of the Bible, first because it is inspired by God. Second, because Jesus promised his disciples that he would send the Holy Spirit to remind them of everything he had said to them. Third, the disciples of Jesus who recorded what is in the New Testament confirmed that they were eye witnesses who recorded what they saw and heard.

There are three truths that we must understand in the beginning of our presentation of the fact of the death of Christ on the cross:

First, the death of Christ was not a random occurrence or a failure, a defeat, or a sign of weakness. It happened by the plan and purpose of God to redeem mankind. This is what the apostle Peter affirmed when he was standing in front of a crowd of Jews, who knew the Old Testament well. He told them in Acts 2:23

“This man, who was handed over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you executed by nailing him to a cross at the hands of Gentiles.”

Peter added in Acts 3:18: “But the things God foretold long ago through all the prophets– that his Christ would suffer– he has fulfilled in this way.”

If Peter’s words were wrong or his quotations of the Old Testament were incorrect, the Jews would have objected, because he was speaking to people who were present when Christ died on the cross. But the opposite happened: more than 3000 people believed after hearing Peter’s words.

Even clearer are the words of Christ himself, when he rose from the dead and appeared to his disciples. He told them,

“Now He said to them, “These are My words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things which are written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled. … and said to them, “Thus it stands written that the Christ would suffer and would rise from the dead on the third day,”

Christ was speaking to people who knew the law of Moses, the books of the prophets, and the Psalms. It is as if he was telling them, since God promised this thing, it must happen. So the death of Christ is not a mistake or coincidence. It is the fulfillment of what God promised, and in accordance with God’s will.

Second, during Jesus Christ’s life and ministry with his disciples, he continually repeated in their hearing that he came to give himself as a ransom for mankind, and that he would suffer and be killed, and after three days rise from the dead. Because Jesus was honest in his words, and clear, with no doubt or deception, everything that he said was certain to happen. Let us listen to some of what Jesus said was going to happen to him:

From that time on Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, chief priests, and experts in the law, and be killed, and on the third day be raised. (Matthew 16:21)

Then Jesus began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, chief priests, and experts in the law, and be killed, and after three days rise again. (Mark 8:31)

  Jesus repeated these truths several times to his disciples. Then he explained to them that he would give himself voluntarily in fulfillment of everything that was written about him, as John 10:18 says:

No one takes it away from me, but I lay it down of my own free will. I have the authority to lay it down, and I have the authority to take it back again.”

This is another piece of evidence that the death of Christ on the cross is a historical fact, because it is impossible that Christ would have confirmed these things to his disciples if he knew that they would not happen. It is also impossible that Christ was lying about his death and resurrection, since he is the only person who never sinned. That is the reason for his coming into our world, and he knew what was going to happen to him. If we deny the death of Christ on the cross, we are accusing him either of ignorance, or of lying or of being crazy.

In fact, the disciples of Christ did not accept his words about his death on the cross. When Jesus was telling them that he would be killed and rise on the third day, Peter rebuked him and told him, “God forbid, Lord.” But Jesus rebuked him and said, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to Me; for you are not setting your mind on God’s interests, but man’s.” Matthew 16:22-23 Nor did the disciples understand Jesus’ words when he spoke to them about the necessity of his death (Luke 9:44).

Third, Jesus Christ was the one who was crucified, and not another person who was made to look like him.

  • When the Roman soldier came from the chief priests and Pharisees to arrest Jesus, Jesus went out to them, knowing all that would happen to him, and he asked them, “Whom do you seek?” They replied, “Jesus the Nazarene.” He told them, “I am he.” Then Jesus asked them again, “Who are you looking for?” And they said, “Jesus the Nazarene.”  Jesus replied, “I told you that I am he. If you are looking for me, let these men go.” John 18:4-8 

He affirmed to them that he was Jesus Christ and not someone who looked like him. He did not deny, nor was he afraid to identify himself. Nor did he ask one of his disciples to take his place on the cross, because he came for that purpose.

  • When Jesus was on the cross, his mother stood at the cross, along with the disciple he loved, and Mary Magdalene and some other friends. When Jesus saw his mother and the beloved disciple, standing there, he told his mother, Woman, this is your son. Then he told the disciple, This is your mother. From that hour, the disciple took her to his home. If we were to say that another person was on the cross, we would be saying that his mother did not know him, nor did the disciple who accompanied Jesus for three years. As well, we would imply that his friends were deceived as well as his enemies, both the Romans and the Jewish Pharisees, some of whom had argued with him and knew him personally.
  • The saying that God made another person look like Jesus be crucified leads us to many other problems:
  • First, this claim, which has no evidence to support it, opens up the door to utter chaos and sophistries. Far be it from God to deceive all those people who knew Jesus well. This is not fitting for the stature and wisdom of God.
  • Second, God was able to save him by raising him to heaven, so what use was it to cast his likeness on someone else except for killing an innocent person?
  • Third, would not the substitute have been able to defend himself and say that he was not the Jesus, because if that had happened, it would have become known and spread abroad. But we have not heard of this person at all.
  • Fourth, since Jesus came to the world for this purpose and to fulfill what was written about him in the Old Testament according to the will of God, why would God deceive those people and go against what he had promised?

What other evidence do we have, which convinced even critics of Christianity and doubters and Jewish and Roman non-Christians of the truth that Jesus died on the cross?

  1. Unanimity among the historians and Biblical scholars that Jesus died on the cross.
  2. For example, Jarod Ludman, an anti-Christian German scholar. He said regarding the death of Christ, “The death of Christ as a result of the crucifixion does not need to be discussed, because it is a certainty.”
  3. John Crousan, a major critic of Christianity, said, “There is not the slightest doubt about the crucifixion of Christ by Pontius Pilate.”

These two scholars and other historians have spoken these words because they have studied the historical evidence, and it led them to this conclusion.

  • There are indications of the death of Christ on the cross in the writings of Jewish and Roman historians from the first century, from the year 40 – 90 A.D.
  • The Jewish historian Josephus referred to Jesus in his book Antiquities of the Jews XVIII and said, “There was a wise man at that time named Jesus who did wonderful deeds, but Pilate condemned him to death on the cross. But his disciples did not desert him, because he appeared to them on the third day.”
  • The Roman historian Tacitus referred in 115 A.D. to the founder of the Christian movement having been executed in the time of Pontius Pilate.
  • There are numerous prophecies in the Old Testament that prophesied of the death of Christ:
  • Isaiah 53:9 mentions specific details of the death of Christ hundreds of years before it happened. “They intended to bury him with criminals, but he ended up in a rich man’s tomb, because he had committed no violent deeds, nor had he spoken deceitfully.” This prophecy was fulfilled in detail as we read what happened to Jesus in Matthew 27:57-60.
  • Psalm 22:18 says, “They are dividing up my clothes among themselves; they are rolling dice for my garments.” This prophecy about Christ was fulfilled exactly in all its details as is mentioned in John 19:23-24.

It is worth mentioning in this regard that the Jews in the first century A.D., who rejected Christ, did not delete or substitute any of these prophecies. So how could they have substituted them or played around with them 600 years after they had been fulfilled?

There are at least twenty prophecies that talk about the reality of the crucifixion of Christ. These prophecies were not made by the prophets themselves, because the New Testament confirms in 2 Peter 1:21 “for no prophecy was ever borne of human impulse; rather, men (Old Testament prophets) carried along by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.”  All these prophecies that were fulfilled remove any doubt about the crucifixion of Christ. Can we be so bold as to deny these prophecies that were from God?

In this regard, Jesus rebuked two of his disciples with harsh words because they did not understand what the prophets have written about him. “So he said to them, “You foolish people– how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken!  Wasn’t it necessary for the Christ to suffer these things and enter into his glory?”  Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them the things written about himself in all the scriptures.” Luke 24:25-27 

In addition, Paul argued with the Jews from the books of the Old Testament “Paul went to the Jews in the synagogue, as he customarily did, and on three Sabbath days he addressed them from the scriptures,  explaining and demonstrating that the Christ had to suffer and to rise from the dead, ” (Acts 17:2-3). He was referring to the prophecies that his Jewish listeners knew.

  • There are strict Roman procedures that were implemented for the death of a crucified person. So there is no place for saying that Christ was crucified but remained alive after his crucifixion. It was impossible for Christ to remain alive after being crucified, because the Romans were very careful to ensure that the crucified person was dead.

Death on a cross in the time of the Romans and previously was one of the ugliest and worst ways of execution, and the most painful. The brutality and harshness of it was such that there was no way for the victim to remain alive. Christ was beaten and whipped almost to death even before he was crucified. To the Jews, God had cursed the person who was crucified. Therefore, the apostle Paul described the reason Christ had to die on the cross.

“Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us (because it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”)” (Galatians 3:13)

To further confirm that Christ died on the cross, I want to mention two other incidents from the New Testament:

  1. When the soldier came to break the legs of the two men who had been crucified with Jesus to ensure that they would not be able to breathe and thus would die quickly. John 19:33 says, “But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs.”
  2. When a man called Joseph came to ask for the body of Jesus after his crucifixion, “Pilate was surprised that he was already dead. He called the centurion and asked him if he had been dead for some time.  When Pilate was informed by the centurion, he gave the body to Joseph.” (Mark 15:44-45). In other words, when he knew that Jesus had died, since the centurion had gone and confirmed that Christ had died.
  • There are thousands of Christians who had spread abroad in various groups and who had gone around giving the good news in every place about the historical truth of the death of Christ on the cross. Shall we then reject their testimony and that of those who saw him and heard him? If we deny these testimonies we discredit the unbroken succession of witnesses, and discredit the prophecies of other prophets. How can we deny whole peoples who all agree, despite their differences in other matters, that these testimonies to an important event that was tangible and visible and passed on continually? In addition, not one voice was raised among Christians, Jews, or pagans that would contradict or discredit the testimony of the Christians to the crucifixion of Christ, as we have seen.

In addition, thousands of Christians have been killed as martyrs in the days of the early church because they would not turn back on their testimony about the death of Christ. Can you imagine that these people, especially the disciples of Jesus who during his life resisted the idea of the crucifixion, were ready to die for a falsified or fictional issue? If they were deceived, did God allow them to be deceived? God forbid it!

In addition to this, if we were to say that Christ did not die on the cross, we would be contradicting and denying:

  • History in general, which is supported by the testimony of Christians, Jews, and Romans.
  • The New Testament, the word of God, which is completely founded on the redemptive event of the crucifixion.
  • All the prophesies of the Old Testament, which predicted the death and resurrection of Christ, and which were all fulfilled in Christ.
  • Christ in everything he said about the reason and purpose for his coming to the earth.

Is it reasonable and logical to ignore and deny all this evidence to say that Christ did not die on the cross? Should we not believe eyewitnesses who saw the crucifixion of Christ, and who were present when it happened and then faithfully recorded what happened?

After presenting the evidence  that confirms the crucifixion of Christ and his death, we must know what the meaning of his death was, and understand it to appreciate this sacrificial love that Christ showed by his death on the cross.

The goal and meaning of the death of Christ according to God’s will was the redemption of mankind through offering himself as a sacrifice to pay for our sins.

  • When Jesus Christ was born, the angel of the Lord told Joseph, “She will give birth to a son and you will name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” Matthew 1:21 
  • And when John, one of the disciples of Christ, saw Jesus coming to him, he said, said, “Look, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” John 1:29  This is the lamb acceptable to God because it was sinless, with no fault.
  • And the apostle Peter clarified the meaning of the death of Christ when he said in 1 Peter 2:24He (Jesus Christ) himself bore our sins in his body on the tree (the cross), that we may cease from sinning and live for righteousness. By his wounds you were healed

In this manner, Jesus fulfilled the justice of God and his mercy. He showed the justice of God by paying the penalty for our sin, which is death, and he showed the mercy of God which saved everyone who believes in Christ.

If we deny the death of Christ, it is as if we are saying that the plan of God failed, his will was not accomplished, and there is no salvation for mankind from the penalty of sin, but the truth is that he did die, as we have seen above.

To close this section, I want to tell you that Christians look at the cross with boasting. The apostle Paul summarized the view of Christians toward the cross in 1 Corinthians 1:18

“For the message about the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.”

Yes, Christ was crucified, “a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Greeks.” But in fact, it was the power of God, since it happened according to the wonderful, glorious plan of God to redeem mankind from sin.

The apostle Paul, who had persecuted the Christians before he came to faith, wrote to the church in Galatia:

“But may I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.” (Galatians 6:14)  

We also look to the cross with gratefulness and deep thanks to God for his love and his grace which he showed in the death of Christ, as the apostle Paul said in Romans 5:8But God demonstrates his own love for us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

The final word, dear reader, is the wonderful, unimaginable result of the voluntary death of Christ on the cross. Please read and think deeply about these verses that the apostle Paul wrote by inspiration of the Holy Spirit in the New Testament:

He humbled himself, by becoming obedient to the point of death– even death on a cross!  As a result God exalted him and gave him the name that is above every name,   so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow– in heaven and on earth and under the earth – and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:7-11)

After the death of Christ on the cross and his resurrection from the dead, God gave him a unique, glorious position so that every person would bow down before him. The cross led to being glorified, but it was not the end, because Christ rose from the dead as we will read in the second part of this article.

https://vimeo.com/405214385
A teen explores the resurrection on Zoom

The novel coronavirus, or COVID-19, emerged in China towards the end of 2019.  Just a few months later it is raging around the world, infecting over 4000000 people, killing over 280000, and spreading to every country.

The lightning fast spread of COVID-19 has created fear around the world.  People are unsure what to do in light of this worldwide infectious disease outbreak.  But medical professionals are saying that success in containing COVID-19 hangs on one big strategy – social distancing or quarantine. This has caused authorities around the world to setup lockdown and isolation rules.  In most places people cannot meet in large groups, must keep at least two meters distance from others – and if you have been in contact with someone testing positive for the coronavirus then you must completely isolate yourself from any contact with others. 

Simultaneously, medical researchers are racing to find a vaccine.  The strategy is that once a vaccine is developed it can be injected into people so that their bodies can develop resistance to the coronavirus. 

These extreme procedures to isolate, quarantine, and to develop a coronavirus vaccine, provide a living illustration of another procedure to treat a different virus – a spiritual one.  That procedure is at the heart of the mission of Jesus and his Gospel of the Kingdom of Heaven.  If the coronavirus is of such concern that societies across the planet are taking drastic steps to understand the coronavirus and protect their citizens, then perhaps it is worthwhile to also understand this spiritual counterpart, so that we are not caught unaware by this threat.  The COVID-19 pandemic is instructive in understanding the gospel in terms of sin, heaven, hell, but also the mission of Jesus.

First the infectious disease…

A Deadly & Contagious Infection.

Just as COVID-19 is not pleasant to think about but cannot be avoided, the Bible talks a great deal about sin and its consequences – another topic we prefer to avoid.  An image the Bible uses to describe sin is that of an infectious disease that has spread across, and is killing the human race.

Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned. 

Romans 5:12

All of us have become like one who is unclean,
    and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags;
we all shrivel up like a leaf,
    and like the wind our sins sweep us away. 

Isaiah 64:6

Epidemics are diseases but are not the cause of the disease. For example, AIDS is the disease; HIV is the virus that causes the disease. SARS is the disease; SARS Coronavirus-1 is the virus that causes the disease. The current disease is called COVID-19 and the virus is called SARS Coronavirus-2. In the same way, the Bible says that sins (plural) are a spiritual disease; sin (singular) is its root, and it results in death.

Moses & the Bronze Serpent

A story connecting disease and death, which Jesus linked to his mission, is the account of snakes infesting the Israelite camp in the time of Moses. A cure was needed before they were overwhelmed by death. 

They traveled from Mount Hor along the route to the Red Sea, to go around Edom. But the people grew impatient on the way; they spoke against God and against Moses, and said, “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? There is no bread! There is no water! And we detest this miserable food!”

Then the Lord sent venomous snakes among them; they bit the people and many Israelites died. The people came to Moses and said, “We sinned when we spoke against the Lord and against you. Pray that the Lord will take the snakes away from us.” So Moses prayed for the people.

The Lord said to Moses, “Make a snake and put it up on a pole; anyone who is bitten can look at it and live.” So Moses made a bronze snake and put it up on a pole. Then when anyone was bitten by a snake and looked at the bronze snake, they lived. 

Numbers 21:4-9

Throughout the Old Testament one became unclean either by infectious disease, by touching dead bodies, or by sin.  These three were associated with one another.  The New Testament sums up our situation like this:

As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient.

Ephesians 2: 1-2

Death in the Bible means ‘separation’ and involves both a physical (soul separates from the body) and spiritual death (soul separated from God).  Like a virus inside us, sin causes immediate spiritual death, which then leads to a certain physical death over time.

Though we would rather not think about such things the Bible treats sin as real as COVID-19, but it also points to the vaccine…

The Vaccine – Through the death of the Seed

From its beginning, the Bible developed a theme of a coming seed.  A seed is essentially a packet of DNA that can unfurl and develop into new life.  The DNA in a seed is specific information from which large molecules of specific shapes (proteins) are made.  In this sense it is similar to a vaccine, which are large molecules (called antigens) of a specific shape.  This coming seed promised from the beginning would solve the problem of sin and death.

And I will put enmity
Between you and the woman,
And between your seed and her seed;
He shall bruise you on the head,
And you shall bruise him on the heel.”

Genesis 3:15

See here for details on the woman and her seed.  The seed was later promised to come through Abraham to go to all nations.

In your (Abraham’s) seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice.

Genesis 22:18

In these instances the seed is singular.  A ‘he’, not a ‘they’ or an ‘it’, was to come.

In the Gospel, Jesus is revealed as the promised seed – but with a twist – the seed would die.  

Jesus replied, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 24 Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.

John 12:23-24

His death was on our behalf.

But we do see Jesus, who was made lower than the angels for a little while, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.

Hebrews 2:9

In some types of vaccines the virus is killed and then injected into our bodies so that our bodies can produce the necessary antibodies.  Our immune system can thus defend our bodies from the virus.  In a similar way the death of Jesus for us all enables that seed to now indwell us so we can develop an immune defence against that spiritual virus – sin.

No one who is born of God practices sin, because His seed abides in him; and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.

1 John 3:9

Without an adequate vaccine our only option (as with COVID-19 since no vaccine has yet been developed) is quarantine.  This is also true in the spiritual realm.  That quarantine is more commonly known as Hell.

How is this so?

Quarantine – Separation of Heaven & Hell

Jesus taught on coming of the ‘Kingdom of Heaven’. When we think of ‘heaven’ we often think of its situation or milieu – those ‘streets of gold’.  But the greater hope of the Kingdom is a society with citizens of completely honest and selfless character.  Reflect on how much we build into the ‘kingdoms’ of earth to protect ourselves from each other. We all have locks on our homes, advanced security systems; we lock our cars; we tell our kids not to speak to strangers. Every city has some police force.  We vigilantly protect our online data. When you think of all the systems, practices and procedures that we have put in place in our ‘kingdoms on earth’ and realize that they are there simply to protect ourselves from each other then you may get a glimmer of the problem of sin in heaven. 

If God were to setup a kingdom of ‘heaven’ and then invite us to become citizens of it, we would quickly turn it into the hell we have turned this world into. The gold on the streets would vanish in no time.  The sin in us must be rooted out just like COVID-19 must be rooted out for society to be healthy.  Not one person who ‘missed’ (the meaning of sin) this perfect standard could enter the kingdom – because then it would be ruined.  A quarantine would have to be enforced.

What then for those who are quarantined and denied entry? In this world, if you are denied entry to a country you cannot also expect to participate in its resources and benefits (receive its welfare, medical treatment etc.). But all in all, people around the world, even terrorists on the run from all countries, enjoy the same basic amenities of nature, such as breathing the air, seeing light like everyone else.

But who made light? The Bible claims

‘God said, “Let there be light” and there was light’.

Genesis 1:3

If that is true then all light is His – and it turns out that we are just borrowing it now. But with the final establishment of the Kingdom of Heaven, His light will be in His Kingdom. So ‘outside’ will be ‘darkness’ – just as Jesus described Hell in this parable.

“Then the king told the attendants, ‘Tie him hand and foot, and throw him outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ 

Matthew 22: 13

If it is true that there is a Creator then most of what we take for granted and assume is ‘ours’ is really His. Starting with such a basic entity as ‘light’, the world around us, and going on to our natural abilities such as thought and speech – we really did nothing to create these abilities – we simply find ourselves able to use them.  When the Kingdom is finalized the Owner will reclaim them.

When COVID-19 breaks out and threatens death and havoc among us all we hear no argument when experts insist on quarantine. So it is no surprise to hear Jesus teach in his parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus that

And besides all this, between us (in Kingdom of God) and you (in Hell) a great chasm has been set in place, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.

Luke 16:26

Taking the vaccination – Jesus’ explanation of the Bronze Serpent

Jesus once explained his mission using the story above about Moses and the deadly serpents.  Think about what would have happened for the people bitten by the snakes.

When bitten by a poisonous snake, the venom that enters the body is an antigen, just like a virus infection.  The normal treatment is to try to suck the venom out; bind the bitten limb tightly so that the blood will not flow and the venom will not spread from the bite; and reduce activity so that the lowered heartrate will not quickly pump the venom through the body. 

When the serpents infected the Israelites they were told to look at the bronze serpent held up on a pole to be cured.  You might visualize this as some bitten person rolling out of his bed to look at the nearby bronze serpent and then being healed.  But there were about 3 million people in the Israelite camp (they counted over 600 000 men of military age) – the size of a large modern city.  Chances were high that those bitten were several kilometers away, and out of sight from, the bronze serpent pole.  So those bitten by the snakes had to make a choice.  They could take standard precautions involving binding the wound tightly and resting to restrict blood flow and spread of the venom.  Or they would have to trust the remedy announced by Moses and walk several kilometers, raising the blood flow and spread of the venom, to look at the bronze serpent on the pole.  It would be the trust or lack of trust in the word of Moses that would determine each person’s course of action.

Jesus referred to this when he said

As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up; 15 so that whoever believes will in Him have eternal life.

John 3:14-15

Jesus is saying that our situation is like that story.  The snakes infesting the camp are like sin in us and society.  We are infected with the venom of sin and this will result in our death – an eternal one requiring Quarantine from the Kingdom of Heaven.  He then makes the connection that his being lifted up on the cross was like the bronze serpent lifted on a pole.  Just as the bronze serpent could cure the Israelites of their deadly venom so he can cure ours.  The Israelites in the camp had to look at the raised serpent.  But to do that they would have to explicitly trust the solution provided by Moses and act counter-intuitively by not slowing the heart rate.  It was their trust in what God provided that saved them.  It is the same for us.  We do not physically look at the cross, but we trust in that provision given by God to save us from the infection of sin and death. 

However, to the one who does not work but trusts God who justifies the ungodly, their faith is credited as righteousness. 

Romans 4:5

We do not trust our ability to fight off the infection, but trust God who made the vaccine in the Seed.  We trust him with the details of the vaccine.  This is why ‘Gospel’ means ‘Good news’.  Anyone who has been infected with a deadly disease but now hears that a vaccine is available and given for free – that is good news.

Come & See

Of course we need a reason to trust both the diagnosis and the vaccine.  We dare not give our trust naively.  As one of the earliest discussions on this theme records

Philip found Nathanael and told him, “We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote—Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.”

46 “Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?” Nathanael asked.

“Come and see,” said Philip.

John 1:45-46

The Gospel invites us to come and see, to examine that Seed.  Many articles here do that, working through various questions we may have, including the resurrection, reliability of the Bible, the overall summary of the Gospel, or viewed through a love story.  Come and see like Nathanael did so long ago.

For further discussion on God & Coronovairus see https://www.noeticshift.org/

If you were to name some classic love stories you might suggest Helen of Troy & Paris (igniting the Trojan War dramatized in the Iliad), Cleopatra and Mark Antony (whose love entwined Rome in a civil war with Octavian/Augustus Caesar ), Romeo & Juliet, Beauty & the Beast, or perhaps Cinderella & Prince Charming.  In them, history, pop culture and romantic fiction come together in offering passionate love stories that captivate our hearts, emotions and imaginations.

Ruth & Boaz Love Story

Amazingly, the love that sparked between Ruth & Boaz has proved far more enduring and noble than any of these love affairs, and in fact, still affects the lives of all the billions of us living today – more than three thousand years after these lovers met.  Their romance is also a picture of a mystical and spiritual love offered to you and me.  The story of Ruth and Boaz deals with cross-cultural & forbidden love, immigration and the relationship between a powerful man and a vulnerable woman – applicable in today’s #MeToo era.  It becomes a blueprint for us on how to establish a healthy marriage.  By any of these measures the love story of Ruth & Boaz is worth knowing.

Their love is recorded in the Book of Ruth in the Bible.  It is a short book – only 2400 words long – and is well worth reading (here).  It is set about 1150 BCE, making this the oldest of all recorded love stories.  It has been made into several films.

Hollywood movie depicting the Ruth Love story

The Love Story of Ruth

Naomi and her husband with their two sons leave Israel to escape drought and settle in the nearby country of Moab (today’s Jordan).  After marrying local women the two sons die, as does Naomi’s husband, leaving her alone with her two daughters-in-law.  Naomi decides to return to her native Israel and one of her daughters-in-law, Ruth, chooses to accompany her.  After a long absence, Naomi is back in her native Bethlehem as a destitute widow accompanied by Ruth, a young and vulnerable Moabite immigrant.

Ruth & Boaz meet

Bereft of income, Ruth goes out to gather grain left behind by the local harvest crews in the fields.  The Law of Moses, as a social safety net, had ordained harvesters to leave some grains behind in their fields so the impoverished could gather food.  Randomly it would seem, Ruth finds herself picking grains in the fields of a wealthy landowner named Boaz.  Boaz notices Ruth among the others working hard to gather up the grains left behind by his work crews.  He instructs his foremen to leave extra grain behind in the field so that she could gather more.

Ruth & Boaz meet. Much art has been done depicting their meeting
Ruth & Boaz meet. Much art has been done depicting their meeting

Because she can gather plentifully in his fields, Ruth comes back to Boaz’s fields every day to gather left-over grain.  Boaz, ever the protector, ensures that Ruth is not harassed or molested by any of his crews.  Ruth and Boaz are interested in each other, but because of differences in age, social status, and nationality, neither makes a move.  Here Naomi steps in as match-maker.  She instructs Ruth to boldly lay down by Boaz’s side at night after he has celebrated the harvest gathering.  Boaz understands this as a marriage proposal and decides to marry her.

Kinsman Redeemer

But the situation is more complicated than simply love between them.  Naomi is a relative of Boaz, and since Ruth is her daughter-in-law, Boaz and Ruth are kin by marriage.  Boaz must marry her as a ‘kinsmen redeemer’.  This meant that under the Law of Moses he would marry her ‘in the name’ of her first husband (Naomi’s son) and so provide for her.   This would entail that Boaz purchase Naomi’s family fields.  Though that would prove costly to Boaz it was not the biggest obstacle.  There was another closer relative that had first rights to buy Naomi’s family’s fields (and also thus marry Ruth).  So the marriage of Ruth to Boaz hung on whether another man wanted the responsibility to care for Naomi and Ruth.  At a public meeting of the city elders this first-in-line declined the marriage since it put his own estate at risk.  Boaz was thus free to purchase and redeem Naomi’s family estate and marry Ruth.

Legacy of Ruth & Boaz

In their union they had a child, Obed, who in turn became the grandfather of King David.  David was promised that ‘a Christ’ would come from his family.   Further prophecies were given and finally Jesus Christ was born in Bethlehem, the same town that Ruth and Boaz had met in long before.  Their romance, marriage and family line resulted in offspring that today is the basis for our modern calendar, and global holidays like Christmas & Easter – not bad for a romance in a dusty village over 3000 years ago.

Picturing a Greater Love Story

The chivalry and respect with which the rich and powerful Boaz treated Ruth, the destitute foreign woman, is a model contrasting the harassments and exploitations now common in our #MeToo day.  The historical impact of the family line which this romance and marriage produced, detectible every time we note the date on our devices, gives this love story an enduring legacy.  But the Ruth & Boaz love story is also a picture of an even greater love – one you and I are invited into.

The Bible describes us in a manner evoking Ruth when it says:

I will plant her for myself in the land;
I will show my love to the one I called ‘Not my loved one.’

Hosea 2:23

The Old Testament prophet Hosea (ca 750 BC) used the reconciliation in his own fractured marriage to picture God reaching out to us with His love.  Like Ruth who entered the land as one unloved, but then was shown love by Boaz, He desires to show His love even to those of us who feel far from His love.  This is quoted in the New Testament (Romans 9:25) to show how God reaches wide to love those far from Him.

How is His love shown?  Jesus, that descendant offspring from Boaz & Ruth, is God come-in-the-flesh and is thus our ‘kinsman’, just as Boaz was to Ruth.  Jesus paid our debt of sin to God on the cross, and thus he

gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.

Titus 2:14

As Boaz was a ‘kinsman-redeemer’ who paid a price to redeem Ruth, Jesus is our ‘kinsman-redeemer’ who paid (with his life) to redeem us.

A Model for our marriages

The way Jesus (and Boaz) paid to redeem and then win his bride models how we can build our marriages.  The Bible explains how we establish our marriages:

Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.

Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.

25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.29 After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— 30 for we are members of his body. 31 “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” 32 This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. 33 However, each one of you also must love his wifeas he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.

Ephesians 5:21-33

As Boaz and Ruth established their marriage on love and respect, and Jesus’ care for the church is a model for husbands to love their wives sacrificially, so we do well to build our marriages on these same values.

A Wedding Invitation for you and me

As in all good love stories, the Bible concludes with a wedding.  Just as the price that Boaz paid to redeem Ruth paved the way for their wedding, the price that Jesus paid has paved the way for our wedding.  That wedding is not figurative but real, and those accepting his wedding invitation are called ‘The Bride of Christ’.  As it says:

Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready. 

Revelation 19:7

Those who receive Jesus’ offer of redemption become his ‘bride’.  This heavenly wedding is offered to all of us.  The Bible ends with this invitation for you and me to come to His wedding

The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let the one who hears say, “Come!” Let the one who is thirsty come; and let the one who wishes take the free gift of the water of life.

Revelation 22:17

The relationship between Ruth & Boaz is a model of love that is still making itself felt today.  It is a picture of the heavenly romance of God who loves us.  He will marry as His Bride all who accept His marriage proposal.  As with any marriage proposals, His offer should be weighed to see if you should accept it.  Start here with the ‘plan’ laid out in the beginning from the beginning of human history and follow its development. Notice how it is all predicted long beforehand to prove it really is God’s Proposal.

Another adaptation of the Book of Ruth in film

Jesus came to give himself as a sacrifice for all peoples so that we could escape our corruption and reconnect with God.  This plan was announced at the beginning of human history, such that even the ancient Chinese knew of it.  It was signed by God in the sacrifice of Abraham by pointing to Mount Moriah where Jesus’ sacrifice would be provided.  Then the Jewish Passover sacrifice was a sign pointing to the day of the year when Jesus would be sacrificed.  Further details were predicted in various prophecies in the Old Testament.

Why is his sacrifice so important?  This is a question that summarizes the whole Bible – it is its main message.  The Bible declares a Law when it states:

For the wages of sin is death… (Romans 6:23)

“Death” literally means ‘separation’.  When our soul separates from our body we die physically.  Similarly we are even now separated from God spiritually.  This is true because God is Holy (sinless) while we have become corrupted from our original creation and so we sin.

This can be pictured with two cliffs with God on the opposite side from us separated by a large gap.  Just like a branch that has been cut from a tree is separated and dead, so we have cut ourselves off from God and become separated and spiritually dead.

We are separated from God by our sins like a chasm separating two cliffs

We are separated from God by our sins like a chasm separating two cliffs

This separation causes guilt and fear.  So what we naturally try to do is build bridges to take us from our side (of death) to God’s side.  We do this in many different ways: going to church, temple or mosque, being religious, being good, helping the poor, meditation, trying to be more helpful, praying more, etc.  These deeds are often through religion to gain merit and can be very difficult – and living them out can be very complicated.  This is illustrated in the next figure.

Good Efforts – useful as they may be - cannot bridge the separation between us and God

Religious Merit and Good Effort – useful as they may be – cannot bridge the separation between us and God

The problem is that our hard efforts, merits, and deeds, though not wrong, are insufficient because the payment required (the ‘wages’) for our sins is ‘death’.  Our efforts are like a ‘bridge’ that tries to cross the gap separating us from God – but in the end cannot do it.  This is because good merit will not solve our root problem. It is like trying to heal cancer (which results in death) by eating vegetarian.  Eating vegetarian is not bad, it may even be good – but it will not cure cancer.  For a cancer cure you need a totally different treatment.

This Law is Bad News – it is so bad we often do not even want to hear it and we fill our lives with activities and things hoping this Law will go away.  But the Bible stresses this Law of sin and death to get our attention to focus on the cure that is simple and powerful.

For the wages of sin is death but… (Romans 6:23)

The small word ‘but’ shows that the direction of the message is about to change directions, to the Good News of the Gospel – the cure.  It shows both the goodness and love of God.

For the wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 6:23)

The good news of the gospel is that the sacrifice of Jesus’ death is sufficient to bridge this separation between us and God.  We know this because three days after his death Jesus rose bodily, coming alive again in a physical resurrection.   Most of us do not know about the evidence for his resurrection.  Jesus’ sacrifice was prophetically acted out in Abraham’s sacrifice and the Passover sacrifice.  These signs pointing to Jesus were put there to help us find the cure.

Jesus said about himself:

 “Very truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “before Abraham was born, I AM!” (John 8:53)

When Jesus said he was ‘I Am’, he was using an Old Testament name for God.  But Jesus was also a man.  As the Bible says:

For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus. (1 Timothy 2:5)

Because he was both human and Divine, he is a mediator between God and mankind.  Therefore he can ‘touch’ both sides of the chasm and span the gap separating God and people.  He is a Bridge to Life which can be pictured like this:

Jesus is the Bridge that spans the chasm between God and mankind

Jesus is the Bridge that spans the chasm between God and mankind

Notice how this sacrifice of Jesus is given to us.  It is offered as a … ‘gift’.  Think about gifts.  No matter what the gift is, if it is really a gift it is something that you do not work for and that you do not earn by merit.  If you earned it the gift would no longer be a gift – it would be a wage!  In the same way you cannot merit or earn the sacrifice of Jesus.  It is given to you as a gift.  It is that simple.

And what is the gift?  It is ‘eternal life’.  That means that the sin which brought you and me death is now canceled.  Jesus’ bridge of life enables us to re-connect with God and receive life – which lasts forever.  God loves you and me that much.  It is that powerful.

So how do you and I ‘cross’ this Bridge of Life?  Again, think of gifts.  If someone wants to give you a gift you must ‘receive’ it.  Anytime a gift is offered there are two alternatives.  Either the gift is refused (“No thank you”) or it is received (“Thank you for your gift.  I will take it”).  So also this gift offered must be received.  It cannot simply be mentally believed in, studied or understood.  This is illustrated in the next figure where we ‘walk’ on the Bridge by turning to God and receiving his gift he offers to us.

Jesus sacrifice is a gift that each of us must choose to receive

Jesus sacrifice is a gift that each of us must choose to receive

So how do we receive this gift?  The Bible says that

Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved (Romans 10:12)

Notice that this promise is for ‘everyone’.  Since he rose from the dead Jesus is alive even now and he is ‘Lord’.  So if you call on him he will hear and give his gift to you.  You call out to him and ask him – by having a conversation with him.  Perhaps you have never done this.  Below is a prayer that can guide you. It is not a magic chant.  It is not the specific words that give power.  It is the trust like Abraham had that we place in him to give us this gift.  As we trust him He will hear us and answer.  The Gospel is powerful, and yet also so simple.  Feel free to follow this guide if you find it helpful.

Dear Lord Jesus.  I understand that with my sins I am separated from God.  Though I can try hard, no effort and sacrifice on my part will bridge this separation.  But I understand that your death was a sacrifice to wash away all my sins.  I believe that you rose from the dead after your sacrifice so I know that your sacrifice was sufficient.  I ask you to please cleanse me from my sins and bridge me to God so I can have eternal life.  I do not want to live a life enslaved to sin so please free me from sin.  Thank you, Lord Jesus, for doing all this for me and would you even now continue to guide me in my life so I can follow you as my Lord.

Amen

This message is what is known as the gospel – which literally means ‘good news’.  The gospel does raise alot of questions.  Feel free to browse the articles and questions on the side-bar in our sister websites.  Or you can browse the articles in other languages.  For sure, the gospel is worth becoming informed about, and I hope you can take opportunity to consider it.  One way is to view a film about Jesus’ life from the gospels or listen to audio stories from the Bible.

 

 

Jesus came to give himself as a sacrifice for all peoples so that we could escape our corruption and reconnect with God.  This plan was announced at the beginning of human history, such that even the ancient Chinese knew of it.  It was signed by God in the sacrifice of Abraham by pointing to Mount Moriah where Jesus’ sacrifice would be provided.  Then the Jewish Passover sacrifice was a sign pointing to the day of the year when Jesus would be sacrificed.  Further details were predicted in various prophecies in the Old Testament.

Why is his sacrifice so important?  This is a question that summarizes the whole Bible – it is its main message.  The Bible declares a Law when it states:

For the wages of sin is death… (Romans 6:23)

“Death” literally means ‘separation’.  When our soul separates from our body we die physically.  Similarly we are even now separated from God spiritually.  This is true because God is Holy (sinless) while we have become corrupted from our original creation and so we sin.

This can be pictured with two cliffs with God on the opposite side from us separated by a large gap.  Just like a branch that has been cut from a tree is separated and dead, so we have cut ourselves off from God and become separated and spiritually dead.

We are separated from God by our sins like a chasm separating two cliffs

We are separated from God by our sins like a chasm separating two cliffs

This separation causes guilt and fear.  So what we naturally try to do is build bridges to take us from our side (of death) to God’s side.  We do this in many different ways: going to church, temple or mosque, being religious, being good, helping the poor, meditation, trying to be more helpful, praying more, etc.  These deeds are often through religion to gain merit and can be very difficult – and living them out can be very complicated.  This is illustrated in the next figure.

Good Efforts – useful as they may be - cannot bridge the separation between us and God

Religious Merit and Good Effort – useful as they may be – cannot bridge the separation between us and God

The problem is that our hard efforts, merits, and deeds, though not wrong, are insufficient because the payment required (the ‘wages’) for our sins is ‘death’.  Our efforts are like a ‘bridge’ that tries to cross the gap separating us from God – but in the end cannot do it.  This is because good merit will not solve our root problem. It is like trying to heal cancer (which results in death) by eating vegetarian.  Eating vegetarian is not bad, it may even be good – but it will not cure cancer.  For a cancer cure you need a totally different treatment.

This Law is Bad News – it is so bad we often do not even want to hear it and we fill our lives with activities and things hoping this Law will go away.  But the Bible stresses this Law of sin and death to get our attention to focus on the cure that is simple and powerful.

For the wages of sin is death but… (Romans 6:23)

The small word ‘but’ shows that the direction of the message is about to change directions, to the Good News of the Gospel – the cure.  It shows both the goodness and love of God.

For the wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 6:23)

The good news of the gospel is that the sacrifice of Jesus’ death is sufficient to bridge this separation between us and God.  We know this because three days after his death Jesus rose bodily, coming alive again in a physical resurrection.   Most of us do not know about the evidence for his resurrection.  Jesus’ sacrifice was prophetically acted out in Abraham’s sacrifice and the Passover sacrifice.  These signs pointing to Jesus were put there to help us find the cure.

Jesus said about himself:

 “Very truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “before Abraham was born, I AM!” (John 8:53)

When Jesus said he was ‘I Am’, he was using an Old Testament name for God.  But Jesus was also a man.  As the Bible says:

For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus. (1 Timothy 2:5)

Because he was both human and Divine, he is a mediator between God and mankind.  Therefore he can ‘touch’ both sides of the chasm and span the gap separating God and people.  He is a Bridge to Life which can be pictured like this:

Jesus is the Bridge that spans the chasm between God and mankind

Jesus is the Bridge that spans the chasm between God and mankind

Notice how this sacrifice of Jesus is given to us.  It is offered as a … ‘gift’.  Think about gifts.  No matter what the gift is, if it is really a gift it is something that you do not work for and that you do not earn by merit.  If you earned it the gift would no longer be a gift – it would be a wage!  In the same way you cannot merit or earn the sacrifice of Jesus.  It is given to you as a gift.  It is that simple.

And what is the gift?  It is ‘eternal life’.  That means that the sin which brought you and me death is now canceled.  Jesus’ bridge of life enables us to re-connect with God and receive life – which lasts forever.  God loves you and me that much.  It is that powerful.

So how do you and I ‘cross’ this Bridge of Life?  Again, think of gifts.  If someone wants to give you a gift you must ‘receive’ it.  Anytime a gift is offered there are two alternatives.  Either the gift is refused (“No thank you”) or it is received (“Thank you for your gift.  I will take it”).  So also this gift offered must be received.  It cannot simply be mentally believed in, studied or understood.  This is illustrated in the next figure where we ‘walk’ on the Bridge by turning to God and receiving his gift he offers to us.

Jesus sacrifice is a gift that each of us must choose to receive

Jesus sacrifice is a gift that each of us must choose to receive

So how do we receive this gift?  The Bible says that

Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved (Romans 10:12)

Notice that this promise is for ‘everyone’.  Since he rose from the dead Jesus is alive even now and he is ‘Lord’.  So if you call on him he will hear and give his gift to you.  You call out to him and ask him – by having a conversation with him.  Perhaps you have never done this.  Below is a prayer that can guide you. It is not a magic chant.  It is not the specific words that give power.  It is the trust like Abraham had that we place in him to give us this gift.  As we trust him He will hear us and answer.  The Gospel is powerful, and yet also so simple.  Feel free to follow this guide if you find it helpful.

Dear Lord Jesus.  I understand that with my sins I am separated from God.  Though I can try hard, no effort and sacrifice on my part will bridge this separation.  But I understand that your death was a sacrifice to wash away all my sins.  I believe that you rose from the dead after your sacrifice so I know that your sacrifice was sufficient.  I ask you to please cleanse me from my sins and bridge me to God so I can have eternal life.  I do not want to live a life enslaved to sin so please free me from sin.  Thank you, Lord Jesus, for doing all this for me and would you even now continue to guide me in my life so I can follow you as my Lord.

Amen

This message is what is known as the gospel – which literally means ‘good news’.  The gospel does raise alot of questions.  Feel free to browse the articles and questions on the side-bar in our sister websites.  Or you can browse the articles in other languages.  For sure, the gospel is worth becoming informed about, and I hope you can take opportunity to consider it.  One way is to view a film about Jesus’ life from the gospels or listen to audio stories from the Bible.

 

Jesus came to give himself as a sacrifice for all peoples so that we could escape our corruption and reconnect with God.  This plan was announced at the beginning of human history, such that even the ancient Chinese knew of it.  It was signed by God in the sacrifice of Abraham by pointing to Mount Moriah where Jesus’ sacrifice would be provided.  Then the Jewish Passover sacrifice was a sign pointing to the day of the year when Jesus would be sacrificed.  Further details were predicted in various prophecies in the Old Testament.

Why is his sacrifice so important?  This is a question that summarizes the whole Bible – it is its main message.  The Bible declares a Law when it states:

For the wages of sin is death… (Romans 6:23)

“Death” literally means ‘separation’.  When our soul separates from our body we die physically.  Similarly we are even now separated from God spiritually.  This is true because God is Holy (sinless) while we have become corrupted from our original creation and so we sin.

This can be pictured with two cliffs with God on the opposite side from us separated by a large gap.  Just like a branch that has been cut from a tree is separated and dead, so we have cut ourselves off from God and become separated and spiritually dead.

We are separated from God by our sins like a chasm separating two cliffs

We are separated from God by our sins like a chasm separating two cliffs

This separation causes guilt and fear.  So what we naturally try to do is build bridges to take us from our side (of death) to God’s side.  We do this in many different ways: going to church, temple or mosque, being religious, being good, helping the poor, meditation, trying to be more helpful, praying more, etc.  These deeds are often through religion to gain merit and can be very difficult – and living them out can be very complicated.  This is illustrated in the next figure.

Good Efforts – useful as they may be - cannot bridge the separation between us and God

Religious Merit and Good Effort – useful as they may be – cannot bridge the separation between us and God

The problem is that our hard efforts, merits, and deeds, though not wrong, are insufficient because the payment required (the ‘wages’) for our sins is ‘death’.  Our efforts are like a ‘bridge’ that tries to cross the gap separating us from God – but in the end cannot do it.  This is because good merit will not solve our root problem. It is like trying to heal cancer (which results in death) by eating vegetarian.  Eating vegetarian is not bad, it may even be good – but it will not cure cancer.  For a cancer cure you need a totally different treatment.

This Law is Bad News – it is so bad we often do not even want to hear it and we fill our lives with activities and things hoping this Law will go away.  But the Bible stresses this Law of sin and death to get our attention to focus on the cure that is simple and powerful.

For the wages of sin is death but… (Romans 6:23)

The small word ‘but’ shows that the direction of the message is about to change directions, to the Good News of the Gospel – the cure.  It shows both the goodness and love of God.

For the wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 6:23)

The good news of the gospel is that the sacrifice of Jesus’ death is sufficient to bridge this separation between us and God.  We know this because three days after his death Jesus rose bodily, coming alive again in a physical resurrection.   Most of us do not know about the evidence for his resurrection.  Jesus’ sacrifice was prophetically acted out in Abraham’s sacrifice and the Passover sacrifice.  These signs pointing to Jesus were put there to help us find the cure.

Jesus said about himself:

 “Very truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “before Abraham was born, I AM!” (John 8:53)

When Jesus said he was ‘I Am’, he was using an Old Testament name for God.  But Jesus was also a man.  As the Bible says:

For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus. (1 Timothy 2:5)

Because he was both human and Divine, he is a mediator between God and mankind.  Therefore he can ‘touch’ both sides of the chasm and span the gap separating God and people.  He is a Bridge to Life which can be pictured like this:

Jesus is the Bridge that spans the chasm between God and mankind

Jesus is the Bridge that spans the chasm between God and mankind

Notice how this sacrifice of Jesus is given to us.  It is offered as a … ‘gift’.  Think about gifts.  No matter what the gift is, if it is really a gift it is something that you do not work for and that you do not earn by merit.  If you earned it the gift would no longer be a gift – it would be a wage!  In the same way you cannot merit or earn the sacrifice of Jesus.  It is given to you as a gift.  It is that simple.

And what is the gift?  It is ‘eternal life’.  That means that the sin which brought you and me death is now canceled.  Jesus’ bridge of life enables us to re-connect with God and receive life – which lasts forever.  God loves you and me that much.  It is that powerful.

So how do you and I ‘cross’ this Bridge of Life?  Again, think of gifts.  If someone wants to give you a gift you must ‘receive’ it.  Anytime a gift is offered there are two alternatives.  Either the gift is refused (“No thank you”) or it is received (“Thank you for your gift.  I will take it”).  So also this gift offered must be received.  It cannot simply be mentally believed in, studied or understood.  This is illustrated in the next figure where we ‘walk’ on the Bridge by turning to God and receiving his gift he offers to us.

Jesus sacrifice is a gift that each of us must choose to receive

Jesus sacrifice is a gift that each of us must choose to receive

So how do we receive this gift?  The Bible says that

Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved (Romans 10:12)

Notice that this promise is for ‘everyone’.  Since he rose from the dead Jesus is alive even now and he is ‘Lord’.  So if you call on him he will hear and give his gift to you.  You call out to him and ask him – by having a conversation with him.  Perhaps you have never done this.  Below is a prayer that can guide you. It is not a magic chant.  It is not the specific words that give power.  It is the trust like Abraham had that we place in him to give us this gift.  As we trust him He will hear us and answer.  The Gospel is powerful, and yet also so simple.  Feel free to follow this guide if you find it helpful.

Dear Lord Jesus.  I understand that with my sins I am separated from God.  Though I can try hard, no effort and sacrifice on my part will bridge this separation.  But I understand that your death was a sacrifice to wash away all my sins.  I believe that you rose from the dead after your sacrifice so I know that your sacrifice was sufficient.  I ask you to please cleanse me from my sins and bridge me to God so I can have eternal life.  I do not want to live a life enslaved to sin so please free me from sin.  Thank you, Lord Jesus, for doing all this for me and would you even now continue to guide me in my life so I can follow you as my Lord.

Amen

This message is what is known as the gospel – which literally means ‘good news’.  The gospel does raise alot of questions.  Feel free to browse the articles and questions on the side-bar in our sister websites.  Or you can browse the articles in other languages.  For sure, the gospel is worth becoming informed about, and I hope you can take opportunity to consider it.  One way is to view a film about Jesus’ life from the gospels or listen to audio stories from the Bible.

Jesus came to give himself as a sacrifice for all peoples so that we could escape our corruption and reconnect with God.  This plan was announced at the beginning of human history, such that even the ancient Chinese knew of it.  It was signed by God in the sacrifice of Abraham by pointing to Mount Moriah where Jesus’ sacrifice would be provided.  Then the Jewish Passover sacrifice was a sign pointing to the day of the year when Jesus would be sacrificed.  Further details were predicted in various prophecies in the Old Testament.

Why is his sacrifice so important?  This is a question that summarizes the whole Bible – it is its main message.  The Bible declares a Law when it states:

For the wages of sin is death… (Romans 6:23)

“Death” literally means ‘separation’.  When our soul separates from our body we die physically.  Similarly we are even now separated from God spiritually.  This is true because God is Holy (sinless) while we have become corrupted from our original creation and so we sin.

This can be pictured with two cliffs with God on the opposite side from us separated by a large gap.  Just like a branch that has been cut from a tree is separated and dead, so we have cut ourselves off from God and become separated and spiritually dead.

We are separated from God by our sins like a chasm separating two cliffs

We are separated from God by our sins like a chasm separating two cliffs

This separation causes guilt and fear.  So what we naturally try to do is build bridges to take us from our side (of death) to God’s side.  We do this in many different ways: going to church, temple or mosque, being religious, being good, helping the poor, meditation, trying to be more helpful, praying more, etc.  These deeds are often through religion to gain merit and can be very difficult – and living them out can be very complicated.  This is illustrated in the next figure.

Good Efforts – useful as they may be - cannot bridge the separation between us and God

Religious Merit and Good Effort – useful as they may be – cannot bridge the separation between us and God

The problem is that our hard efforts, merits, and deeds, though not wrong, are insufficient because the payment required (the ‘wages’) for our sins is ‘death’.  Our efforts are like a ‘bridge’ that tries to cross the gap separating us from God – but in the end cannot do it.  This is because good merit will not solve our root problem. It is like trying to heal cancer (which results in death) by eating vegetarian.  Eating vegetarian is not bad, it may even be good – but it will not cure cancer.  For a cancer cure you need a totally different treatment.

This Law is Bad News – it is so bad we often do not even want to hear it and we fill our lives with activities and things hoping this Law will go away.  But the Bible stresses this Law of sin and death to get our attention to focus on the cure that is simple and powerful.

For the wages of sin is death but… (Romans 6:23)

The small word ‘but’ shows that the direction of the message is about to change directions, to the Good News of the Gospel – the cure.  It shows both the goodness and love of God.

For the wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 6:23)

The good news of the gospel is that the sacrifice of Jesus’ death is sufficient to bridge this separation between us and God.  We know this because three days after his death Jesus rose bodily, coming alive again in a physical resurrection.   Most of us do not know about the evidence for his resurrection.  Jesus’ sacrifice was prophetically acted out in Abraham’s sacrifice and the Passover sacrifice.  These signs pointing to Jesus were put there to help us find the cure.

Jesus said about himself:

 “Very truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “before Abraham was born, I AM!” (John 8:53)

When Jesus said he was ‘I Am’, he was using an Old Testament name for God.  But Jesus was also a man.  As the Bible says:

For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus. (1 Timothy 2:5)

Because he was both human and Divine, he is a mediator between God and mankind.  Therefore he can ‘touch’ both sides of the chasm and span the gap separating God and people.  He is a Bridge to Life which can be pictured like this:

Jesus is the Bridge that spans the chasm between God and mankind

Jesus is the Bridge that spans the chasm between God and mankind

Notice how this sacrifice of Jesus is given to us.  It is offered as a … ‘gift’.  Think about gifts.  No matter what the gift is, if it is really a gift it is something that you do not work for and that you do not earn by merit.  If you earned it the gift would no longer be a gift – it would be a wage!  In the same way you cannot merit or earn the sacrifice of Jesus.  It is given to you as a gift.  It is that simple.

And what is the gift?  It is ‘eternal life’.  That means that the sin which brought you and me death is now canceled.  Jesus’ bridge of life enables us to re-connect with God and receive life – which lasts forever.  God loves you and me that much.  It is that powerful.

So how do you and I ‘cross’ this Bridge of Life?  Again, think of gifts.  If someone wants to give you a gift you must ‘receive’ it.  Anytime a gift is offered there are two alternatives.  Either the gift is refused (“No thank you”) or it is received (“Thank you for your gift.  I will take it”).  So also this gift offered must be received.  It cannot simply be mentally believed in, studied or understood.  This is illustrated in the next figure where we ‘walk’ on the Bridge by turning to God and receiving his gift he offers to us.

Jesus sacrifice is a gift that each of us must choose to receive

Jesus sacrifice is a gift that each of us must choose to receive

So how do we receive this gift?  The Bible says that

Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved (Romans 10:12)

Notice that this promise is for ‘everyone’.  Since he rose from the dead Jesus is alive even now and he is ‘Lord’.  So if you call on him he will hear and give his gift to you.  You call out to him and ask him – by having a conversation with him.  Perhaps you have never done this.  Below is a prayer that can guide you. It is not a magic chant.  It is not the specific words that give power.  It is the trust like Abraham had that we place in him to give us this gift.  As we trust him He will hear us and answer.  The Gospel is powerful, and yet also so simple.  Feel free to follow this guide if you find it helpful.

Dear Lord Jesus.  I understand that with my sins I am separated from God.  Though I can try hard, no effort and sacrifice on my part will bridge this separation.  But I understand that your death was a sacrifice to wash away all my sins.  I believe that you rose from the dead after your sacrifice so I know that your sacrifice was sufficient.  I ask you to please cleanse me from my sins and bridge me to God so I can have eternal life.  I do not want to live a life enslaved to sin so please free me from sin.  Thank you, Lord Jesus, for doing all this for me and would you even now continue to guide me in my life so I can follow you as my Lord.

Amen

This message is what is known as the gospel – which literally means ‘good news’.  The gospel does raise alot of questions.  Feel free to browse the articles and questions on the side-bar in our sister websites.  Or you can browse the articles in other languages.  For sure, the gospel is worth becoming informed about, and I hope you can take opportunity to consider it.  One way is to view a film about Jesus’ life from the gospels or listen to audio stories from the Bible.

 

(Klicka här för att läsa detta på Svenska)

Jesus came to give himself as a sacrifice for all peoples so that we could escape our corruption and reconnect with God.  This plan was announced at the beginning of human history, such that even the ancient Chinese knew of it.  It was signed by God in the sacrifice of Abraham by pointing to Mount Moriah where Jesus’ sacrifice would be provided.  Then the Jewish Passover sacrifice was a sign pointing to the day of the year when Jesus would be sacrificed.  Further details were predicted in various prophecies in the Old Testament.

Why is his sacrifice so important?  This is a question that summarizes the whole Bible – it is its main message.  The Bible declares a Law when it states:

For the wages of sin is death… (Romans 6:23)

“Death” literally means ‘separation’.  When our soul separates from our body we die physically.  Similarly we are even now separated from God spiritually.  This is true because God is Holy (sinless) while we have become corrupted from our original creation and so we sin.

This can be pictured with two cliffs with God on the opposite side from us separated by a large gap.  Just like a branch that has been cut from a tree is separated and dead, so we have cut ourselves off from God and become separated and spiritually dead.

We are separated from God by our sins like a chasm separating two cliffs

We are separated from God by our sins like a chasm separating two cliffs

This separation causes guilt and fear.  So what we naturally try to do is build bridges to take us from our side (of death) to God’s side.  We do this in many different ways: going to church, temple or mosque, being religious, being good, helping the poor, meditation, trying to be more helpful, praying more, etc.  These deeds are often through religion to gain merit and can be very difficult – and living them out can be very complicated.  This is illustrated in the next figure.

Good Efforts – useful as they may be - cannot bridge the separation between us and God

Religious Merit and Good Effort – useful as they may be – cannot bridge the separation between us and God

The problem is that our hard efforts, merits, and deeds, though not wrong, are insufficient because the payment required (the ‘wages’) for our sins is ‘death’.  Our efforts are like a ‘bridge’ that tries to cross the gap separating us from God – but in the end cannot do it.  This is because good merit will not solve our root problem. It is like trying to heal cancer (which results in death) by eating vegetarian.  Eating vegetarian is not bad, it may even be good – but it will not cure cancer.  For a cancer cure you need a totally different treatment.

This Law is Bad News – it is so bad we often do not even want to hear it and we fill our lives with activities and things hoping this Law will go away.  But the Bible stresses this Law of sin and death to get our attention to focus on the cure that is simple and powerful.

For the wages of sin is death but… (Romans 6:23)

The small word ‘but’ shows that the direction of the message is about to change directions, to the Good News of the Gospel – the cure.  It shows both the goodness and love of God.

For the wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 6:23)

The good news of the gospel is that the sacrifice of Jesus’ death is sufficient to bridge this separation between us and God.  We know this because three days after his death Jesus rose bodily, coming alive again in a physical resurrection.   Most of us do not know about the evidence for his resurrection.  Jesus’ sacrifice was prophetically acted out in Abraham’s sacrifice and the Passover sacrifice.  These signs pointing to Jesus were put there to help us find the cure.

Jesus said about himself:

 “Very truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “before Abraham was born, I AM!” (John 8:53)

When Jesus said he was ‘I Am’, he was using an Old Testament name for God.  But Jesus was also a man.  As the Bible says:

For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus. (1 Timothy 2:5)

Because he was both human and Divine, he is a mediator between God and mankind.  Therefore he can ‘touch’ both sides of the chasm and span the gap separating God and people.  He is a Bridge to Life which can be pictured like this:

Jesus is the Bridge that spans the chasm between God and mankind

Jesus is the Bridge that spans the chasm between God and mankind

Notice how this sacrifice of Jesus is given to us.  It is offered as a … ‘gift’.  Think about gifts.  No matter what the gift is, if it is really a gift it is something that you do not work for and that you do not earn by merit.  If you earned it the gift would no longer be a gift – it would be a wage!  In the same way you cannot merit or earn the sacrifice of Jesus.  It is given to you as a gift.  It is that simple.

And what is the gift?  It is ‘eternal life’.  That means that the sin which brought you and me death is now canceled.  Jesus’ bridge of life enables us to re-connect with God and receive life – which lasts forever.  God loves you and me that much.  It is that powerful.

So how do you and I ‘cross’ this Bridge of Life?  Again, think of gifts.  If someone wants to give you a gift you must ‘receive’ it.  Anytime a gift is offered there are two alternatives.  Either the gift is refused (“No thank you”) or it is received (“Thank you for your gift.  I will take it”).  So also this gift offered must be received.  It cannot simply be mentally believed in, studied or understood.  This is illustrated in the next figure where we ‘walk’ on the Bridge by turning to God and receiving his gift he offers to us.

Jesus sacrifice is a gift that each of us must choose to receive

Jesus sacrifice is a gift that each of us must choose to receive

So how do we receive this gift?  The Bible says that

Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved (Romans 10:12)

Notice that this promise is for ‘everyone’.  Since he rose from the dead Jesus is alive even now and he is ‘Lord’.  So if you call on him he will hear and give his gift to you.  You call out to him and ask him – by having a conversation with him.  Perhaps you have never done this.  Below is a prayer that can guide you. It is not a magic chant.  It is not the specific words that give power.  It is the trust like Abraham had that we place in him to give us this gift.  As we trust him He will hear us and answer.  The Gospel is powerful, and yet also so simple.  Feel free to follow this guide if you find it helpful.

Dear Lord Jesus.  I understand that with my sins I am separated from God.  Though I can try hard, no effort and sacrifice on my part will bridge this separation.  But I understand that your death was a sacrifice to wash away all my sins.  I believe that you rose from the dead after your sacrifice so I know that your sacrifice was sufficient.  I ask you to please cleanse me from my sins and bridge me to God so I can have eternal life.  I do not want to live a life enslaved to sin so please free me from sin.  Thank you, Lord Jesus, for doing all this for me and would you even now continue to guide me in my life so I can follow you as my Lord.

Amen

This message is what is known as the gospel – which literally means ‘good news’.  The gospel does raise alot of questions.  Feel free to browse the articles and questions on the side-bar in our sister websites.  Or you can browse the articles in other languages.  For sure, the gospel is worth becoming informed about, and I hope you can take opportunity to consider it.  One way is to view a film about Jesus’ life from the gospels or listen to audio stories from the Bible.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hCY_54oqeqA

Jesus came to give himself as a sacrifice for all peoples so that we could escape our corruption and reconnect with God.  This plan was announced at the beginning of human history, such that even the ancient Chinese knew of it.  It was signed by God in the sacrifice of Abraham by pointing to Mount Moriah where Jesus’ sacrifice would be provided.  Then the Jewish Passover sacrifice was a sign pointing to the day of the year when Jesus would be sacrificed.  Further details were predicted in various prophecies in the Old Testament.

Why is his sacrifice so important?  This is a question that summarizes the whole Bible – it is its main message.  The Bible declares a Law when it states:

For the wages of sin is death… (Romans 6:23)

“Death” literally means ‘separation’.  When our soul separates from our body we die physically.  Similarly we are even now separated from God spiritually.  This is true because God is Holy (sinless) while we have become corrupted from our original creation and so we sin.

This can be pictured with two cliffs with God on the opposite side from us separated by a large gap.  Just like a branch that has been cut from a tree is separated and dead, so we have cut ourselves off from God and become separated and spiritually dead.

We are separated from God by our sins like a chasm separating two cliffs

We are separated from God by our sins like a chasm separating two cliffs

This separation causes guilt and fear.  So what we naturally try to do is build bridges to take us from our side (of death) to God’s side.  We do this in many different ways: going to church, temple or mosque, being religious, being good, helping the poor, meditation, trying to be more helpful, praying more, etc.  These deeds are often through religion to gain merit and can be very difficult – and living them out can be very complicated.  This is illustrated in the next figure.

Good Efforts – useful as they may be - cannot bridge the separation between us and God

Religious Merit and Good Effort – useful as they may be – cannot bridge the separation between us and God

The problem is that our hard efforts, merits, and deeds, though not wrong, are insufficient because the payment required (the ‘wages’) for our sins is ‘death’.  Our efforts are like a ‘bridge’ that tries to cross the gap separating us from God – but in the end cannot do it.  This is because good merit will not solve our root problem. It is like trying to heal cancer (which results in death) by eating vegetarian.  Eating vegetarian is not bad, it may even be good – but it will not cure cancer.  For a cancer cure you need a totally different treatment.

This Law is Bad News – it is so bad we often do not even want to hear it and we fill our lives with activities and things hoping this Law will go away.  But the Bible stresses this Law of sin and death to get our attention to focus on the cure that is simple and powerful.

For the wages of sin is death but… (Romans 6:23)

The small word ‘but’ shows that the direction of the message is about to change directions, to the Good News of the Gospel – the cure.  It shows both the goodness and love of God.

For the wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 6:23)

The good news of the gospel is that the sacrifice of Jesus’ death is sufficient to bridge this separation between us and God.  We know this because three days after his death Jesus rose bodily, coming alive again in a physical resurrection.   Most of us do not know about the evidence for his resurrection.  Jesus’ sacrifice was prophetically acted out in Abraham’s sacrifice and the Passover sacrifice.  These signs pointing to Jesus were put there to help us find the cure.

Jesus said about himself:

 “Very truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “before Abraham was born, I AM!” (John 8:53)

When Jesus said he was ‘I Am’, he was using an Old Testament name for God.  But Jesus was also a man.  As the Bible says:

For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus. (1 Timothy 2:5)

Because he was both human and Divine, he is a mediator between God and mankind.  Therefore he can ‘touch’ both sides of the chasm and span the gap separating God and people.  He is a Bridge to Life which can be pictured like this:

Jesus is the Bridge that spans the chasm between God and mankind

Jesus is the Bridge that spans the chasm between God and mankind

Notice how this sacrifice of Jesus is given to us.  It is offered as a … ‘gift’.  Think about gifts.  No matter what the gift is, if it is really a gift it is something that you do not work for and that you do not earn by merit.  If you earned it the gift would no longer be a gift – it would be a wage!  In the same way you cannot merit or earn the sacrifice of Jesus.  It is given to you as a gift.  It is that simple.

And what is the gift?  It is ‘eternal life’.  That means that the sin which brought you and me death is now canceled.  Jesus’ bridge of life enables us to re-connect with God and receive life – which lasts forever.  God loves you and me that much.  It is that powerful.

So how do you and I ‘cross’ this Bridge of Life?  Again, think of gifts.  If someone wants to give you a gift you must ‘receive’ it.  Anytime a gift is offered there are two alternatives.  Either the gift is refused (“No thank you”) or it is received (“Thank you for your gift.  I will take it”).  So also this gift offered must be received.  It cannot simply be mentally believed in, studied or understood.  This is illustrated in the next figure where we ‘walk’ on the Bridge by turning to God and receiving his gift he offers to us.

Jesus sacrifice is a gift that each of us must choose to receive

Jesus sacrifice is a gift that each of us must choose to receive

So how do we receive this gift?  The Bible says that

Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved (Romans 10:12)

Notice that this promise is for ‘everyone’.  Since he rose from the dead Jesus is alive even now and he is ‘Lord’.  So if you call on him he will hear and give his gift to you.  You call out to him and ask him – by having a conversation with him.  Perhaps you have never done this.  Below is a prayer that can guide you. It is not a magic chant.  It is not the specific words that give power.  It is the trust like Abraham had that we place in him to give us this gift.  As we trust him He will hear us and answer.  The Gospel is powerful, and yet also so simple.  Feel free to follow this guide if you find it helpful.

Dear Lord Jesus.  I understand that with my sins I am separated from God.  Though I can try hard, no effort and sacrifice on my part will bridge this separation.  But I understand that your death was a sacrifice to wash away all my sins.  I believe that you rose from the dead after your sacrifice so I know that your sacrifice was sufficient.  I ask you to please cleanse me from my sins and bridge me to God so I can have eternal life.  I do not want to live a life enslaved to sin so please free me from sin.  Thank you, Lord Jesus, for doing all this for me and would you even now continue to guide me in my life so I can follow you as my Lord.

Amen

This message is what is known as the gospel – which literally means ‘good news’.  The gospel does raise alot of questions.  Feel free to browse the articles and questions on the side-bar in our sister websites.  Or you can browse the articles in other languages.  For sure, the gospel is worth becoming informed about, and I hope you can take opportunity to consider it.  One way is to view a film about Jesus’ life from the gospels or listen to audio stories from the Bible.